When you plan a trip to the San Juan Islands, you’ll have a plenty of adventures awaiting your arrival. One key activity in Friday Harbor and surrounding waters is Washington whale watching. While pods of Orcas can often be seen from the shore, whale watching tours offer the incredible opportunity explore the harbor while keeping an eye out for these gentle giants. Out on the water, you may see them breach or simply skim the surface for a breath of air. You may even be able to use a hydrophone to listen to them communicating to one another under water. In any case, this experience is one you should definitely add to your To Do list when traveling to the Pacific Northwest!
Friday Harbor is the Perfect Spot for Washington Whale Watching
Learn About Your Underwater Neighbors: Whale of a Tale
San Juan Island is the home to three “pods” of Orcas – the Southern Resident Killer Whales. For tours, you’ll find area companies offer small and large boats, fast adventure zodiacs, as well as land-based opportunities to view these wild magnificent creatures in their natural environment of the Salish Seas. In the past few years, there have been regular sightings of Humpback, Minke and Gray whales as well! All of our whale watching partners have trained naturalists on board who can point out Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s Porpoises, Bald Eagles, and other wildlife during the tour. Visit our website for more information on whale watching tours.
The waters around the San Juan Islands are the premier kayaking destination in the Pacific Northwest, offering abundant marine life, protected waterways, and beautiful scenery. Many kayak operators offer day trips that offer the promise of seeing whales. These trips are quite popular among guests and should be included on your Things To Do list while you’re visiting!
In addition, the Center for Whale Research has a great website that you can browse ahead of time to learn some fantastic things about Washington whale watching. Founded in 1976, the center seeks to preserve and study the orca whales that inhabit local waters.
Explore the Island: Have a Whale of a Time
Our island oasis has a lot to offer beyond Washington whale watching. From blackberry picking to wine tasting, and island hopping to lighthouse touring, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. Another popular water activity is kayaking, which also provides ample opportunity to explore the surrounding waters and the nature that inhabits them. With a thriving marine ecosystem and protected waterways, the San Juan Islands provide a pristine kayaking experience in the Pacific Northwest.
A scenic tour is also a wonderful way to view more of the island. Choose your transportation of a car, shuttle, or bicycle to explore Washington State’s Scenic Byways. Yet another way to see the island is by air. Charter a flight to get that sought-after aerial view.
Dining: Whale You Go To Dinner with Me?
After a full day of Washington whale watching and island exploration, refuel at any of Friday Harbor’s many charming restaurants. The most popular and convenient is Coho Restaurant, an extension of the Tucker House Inn that offers nautical dining with a Mediterranean twist. Seasonal menus guarantee the freshest fish from the island as well as locally sourced ingredients. Wine pairings are also offered in support of the local farm community, selected specifically to complement your meal.
Of course, we invite you to stay at Tucker House Inn during your jaunt to the San Juan Islands. Following a serene sleep in one of our cozy cottages or sumptuous suites, a gourmet breakfast at the inn will be waiting to refresh and rejuvenate you before more adventures. We will also prepare for guests their very own picnic lunches to take for the day, so you don’t get hungry while participating in Washington whale watching, biking, kayaking, sightseeing, or one of the other many activities the island has to offer. You can even select your picnic from a variety of lunch menus for your favorite scrumptious combinations.
Download our Vacation Guide today for more information on how you can start planning your Washington whale watching adventure today, and to learn more about our premier Pacific Northwest retreat.
Photo Credit (Top): San Juan Safaris